ON THE AUTHENTICITY OF TWO MYTHICAL FRAGMENTS DESCRIBED BY MATTHAEUS PRAETORIUS IN DELICIAE PRUSSICAE OR PRUSSIAN THEATER: RETOLD, RECORDED OR FICTIONAL?

Žydrūnas Vičinskas

Abstract


The analysis of the pre-Christian Baltic culture, in the centre of which there is a pagan religious logic, reveals the issue of credibility of its records. Therefore, the article attempts to review and to verify mythical material directly related to fir tree and pear tree, described by Matthaeus Praetorius (Matthäus Prätorius) in his manuscript “Deliciae Prussicae or Prussian Theater” (Deliciae Prussicae, oder Preussische Schaubühne, the end of the17th century). In parallel with this, the article discusses interpretations by more significant researchers of the 19th–21st centuries who were concerned with Praetorius’s mythical material on fir tree and pear tree. The context of the researches of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries has shown that the researchers of earlier periods did not consider the question of reliability of Matthaeus Praetorius’s mythical material. The present research also allowed to trace the varying tendency of reliability of Praetorius’s described mythical data directly related to fir tree and pear tree.KEY WORDS: Matthaeus Praetorius, fir tree, pear tree, authenticity, Baltic religion and mythology.

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